One pet peeve of visitors at trade shows is pushy booth staff. These are people who think everyone is interested in hearing about their newest product or service. They wait in their booth with the eye of the tiger for an unsuspecting booth visitor to accidentally make eye contact or ask an innocent question. Then they pounce.
The booth staff, on the other hand have difficulty working in a trade show booth when their manager is demanding so much and giving so little to work with.
The quandary is finding a happy balance between being aggressive enough to produce the desired results and being the kind of person visitors want to do business with. The answer is all a matter of attitude. The right attitude at a booth is not as a hard-core sales person but rather as a host.
Let’s step back from the trade show for a moment and look at another scenario. Assume for a minute that you just moved to a new home. The moving truck has delivered all your furniture and your boxes have been unpacked. Now you quickly realize that you are a stranger in a brand new neighbourhood. What can you do?
One technique is to hold an open house where you invite your neighbours over for some wine and cheese or a barbeque as an opportunity to get together. The invitations have been delivered and its time for your open house to begin. Your home looks perfect: everything is put away and dusted. Your front door has a sign that says, “Welcome”. Your first neighbour walks up the door and enters. What do you do? Do you jump up and immediately tell them all about you, your family and where you work not leaving the neighbour time to interject a word? Hardly. Rather the right approach is to act as a host, introduce your self and begin a conversation where you both have an opportunity to learn a bit about each other.
The role of a host is often easier to assume than the role of sales person. It is the perfect mind-set for anyone working a trade show booth. Your display is your place of business for a few days. When visitors approach, your job is to welcome them, make them feel at home and initiate a conversation where the two of you will learn a bit about each other. There is no difference between having your open house for neighbours and working a trade show booth.
Here are four steps that will help:
1.Get rid of the same old, tired greetings like, “How are you doing,” or “Can I help you?” Replace them with questions or statement that show your genuine interest in your visitor such as, “Is this your first visit?” or ““What attracted you to our booth?”
2. Invite the visitor into your space. Conversations that stay in the aisle are subject to constant interruptions.
3. Explain how your booth was developed to help make their visit easier. Point out the demonstration areas, the section where one-on-one presentations will take place or the location of a new product or service.
4.Ask about their buying needs. In the first few minutes of your conversation the emphasis should be on asking rather than telling.
The right frame of mind will make the show experience more productive and fun for both your exhibit staff and your visitors.